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Shettima: APC picked the best victory combination- National Chairman

The All Progressives Congress National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, on Sunday, defended the party’s  Muslim-Muslim ticket.

Adamu, in an interview with Arise TV, said the party picked the best combination of aspirants that would take it to its destination.

The APC Presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, had two weeks ago, picked a former Governor of Borno State, Senator Kashim Shettima, a fellow Muslim, as his running mate.

Groups including the Christian Association of Nigeria, had faulted the party and its candidate.

Commenting on the issue, Adamu stated, “Ordinarily, I respect the views of people and the politics of people. I cannot for any reason tell you that I don’t care what anybody feels; I do care. But this is Nigeria for you and me. We are inhabited by Christians and Muslims, and we are involved in multi-party politics in Nigeria, and every party in its own value judgment would place on the platform the candidates they feel best can win election. It’s as simple as that. This is politics. Whether you are Muslim or Christian, you know that God Himself does not act in vain. The Bible says it, the Quran says it and our Hadith says so. Our position regarding what you are talking about cannot be any different. We are human beings and we do things to the limit of our understanding and wishes and try to work to get to the desired destination with the combination of the aspirants that we have,” he said.

The APC chairman was then asked if the party’s decision to settle for a Muslim-Muslim ticket was because it found no Christian competent enough to be on its presidential ticket.

He replied, “I respect the views of my Christian brothers and sisters. No doubt about it. I’ll be extremely insensitive not to be accommodating on that. But the fact of the matter is we have a platform called the APC, and when the APC speaks, mine is to lay it along the direction.”

“I will never say that the Christian vote doesn’t matter,” said Adamu when asked if his party’s decision to field a Muslim-Muslim ticket was because Christian votes didn’t matter. “That will be the last thing I will say in my life in politics,” he added.

Asked if non-Muslims will be pleased with the party’s ticket, the Senator said, “The fact of the matter is, in anything you do in this world, somebody wins and somebody loses.”

On if he will step down from his position when the APC wins the 2023 presidential election so as to prevent the party from having a Muslim colouration, Adamu said that will be decided after the election.

“I do not count my chickens before they are hatched. Wait for 2023, wait for the outcome of the election and you will see the fair person in me and our party,” he said.

Addressing the controversy surrounding the APC’s decision to make use of placeholder running mate who was later replaced by the former governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, the chairman said the move was within the confines of the electoral laws.

He said, “The laws of his land are absolutely clear, no matter how mischievous any of us wants to be. As far as APC is concerned, I won’t answer for any other party, we had a convention and the convention chose its candidates for the presidential election. Within the legal space available to us and to give us room to go through the candidates that may be desirous of being running mate of our presidential candidate, we had to submit a name that would hold the position before our nomination. The laws of INEC do allow for this. If it didn’t, we would not contemplate doing so. If we did it in the confines of the dictates of the electoral laws of this country, there’s nothing to really lose sleep over. We now have a running mate and we’ve submitted to INEC.” He added, “If the PDP has gone to court, let the court decide. It’s not for me on this programme to decide.”

When made aware of a plan by 192 APC lawmakers to defect from the party as claimed by former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, he said, “For what reason?”

He continued, “As the National Chairman of our great party, it is not in my place to lead by speculation. I’m aware Babachir has made known his dislike for the Muslim-Muslim ticket. But I’m not aware that 192 lawmakers are leaving the APC for whichever party.”

On how his party intends to retain power at the centre, he said, “What we have to do is take a look at what Nigerians are saying and what they are going through and see the best way we can to get them out of any situation that is not conducive for life. We’ll continue to do this, we’ll continue processing the act of governance. As for the strategy we’ll adopt to win the election, you don’t expect me to come on this programme and disclose that. No party lays its plans bare. Even in the most civilised and advanced democracy, you don’t see that kind of stuff.”

Asked if he was threatened by the Peoples Democratic Party and the online presence of the Labour Party, Adamu said he had never underestimated his opponents.

“Honestly, I have never underestimated the capacity of my opponents. I will not do so now. This is not my first time as the chairman of a party; I had been secretary and chairman of a party for years, though it was at the state level. I had faced elections, won some and lost some. I have no reason whatsoever to doubt my opponents. The gentleman who is the chairman of the PDP is a good friend of mine, we’ve known each other even before we got to these positions. Peter Obi… I knew him when he was Governor of Anambra State; I visited him when I was governor or minister. These are people that mean well from their outbursts, as far as I’m concerned. They are well-grounded, I don’t have any doubt about that. So, I have no reason whatsoever to underestimate their ability to lead their party to victory. But I’m telling you that we are better organised, we have a higher number of followers, we have a register of members of our party and we can tell you and you can verify it. These other parties don’t quite have. We, as of this moment that I am talking to you, have 22 states and I don’t have a reason to believe we will lose. But I’m not being overconfident. Even if you take away the one you said we lost, your simple arithmetic will tell you what is left for us, and that will take us into the election. I don’t contemplate any situation that will make us lose the election in 2023. But that is not to say we won’t have to work for it. We are working for our victory, and by the grace of God, victory will be ours in 2023.”

On if his party has plans to woo the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, to dump the PDP, Adamu said he couldn’t comment on such despite three governors of his party holding a meeting with the opposition governor.

“In as much as I read the story in the national dailies, the governors you are talking about did not discuss the mission with me nor have they discussed the outcome of the mission with me. I, therefore, cannot comment on it,” he said.

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